An Interview with Comedian, Sara Pascoe
‘LadsLadsLads’ is Pascoe’s most honest, heartfelt and personal show to date. Full of jokes, hope and white wine, ‘LadsLadsLads’ is “the thinking person’s stag do”.
We caught up with her prior to the tour, which has Yorkshire dates in Harrogate (Oct 9), Leeds (Oct 10) and Sheffield (Oct 28).
Sara, what is your show ‘LadsLadsLads’ about? Why is it described as a ‘thinking person’s stag-do?
It’s sometimes hard to summarise what a show is about, but I wanted to give people the sense that it is fun and celebratory, but rather than about being about to get married it’s the exact opposite. Having fun, trying new things in a way of being braver and more self-reliant. Some of my shows in the past have had serious aspects, theories and research and this one is lighter. It’s like a party, except only I get to talk and you have to sit there watching me.
Are you excited or daunted by going back on tour?
I love going on tour. I love our nation, I love rainy days up north and cold evenings by the seaside. It’s a luxury to get to travel for ones job and it’s still a novelty for me. Ask me again in twenty years!
You’re touring from September to end of November. Do you see the show developing throughout the tour?
As my comedy is personal there are always updates, this show develops with recent escapades. My friends can persuade me to do anything by saying “you’ll get 5 minutes out of it”. That’s how I was recently tricked into watching a West Ham football match and seeing the film It. They were both equally scary and I got exactly zero minutes out of them.
Tell us about your new book Sex Power Money out next spring.
It’s about porn and sex work from a historical and evolutionary perspective. I am taking biology and the plasticity of human sexuality into account, and also laying out the whole spectrum of arguments in the debate about these aspects of our society. I’m also trying to explore power dynamics in sexual exchanges which are not as clearly defined as paying for sex – things like men paying for dinner, the abuse by powerful, rich men such as Weinstein and Trump. But with jokes, as with my last book, Animal. Talking about serious, important stuff, but keeping it accessible and stimulating rather than hectoring.
“Comedy feels like a child’s job”
Did the experience of writing a book change the way you approach comedy?
Writing a book has changed my stand-up. I think I’m funnier now because I can spend more time with ideas for the books, after a day’s writing doing a gig is a release. I only want to be silly, and it doesn’t feel as selfish, if that makes sense? Comedy feels like a child’s job, you can’t believe you’re getting paid to do it. But there are huge things going on in the world and sometimes you feel a responsibility because you’ve a mic in your hand. But now my responsible side who cares about the state of the world can go into book writing and stand up can be a distraction from that.
Tell us about your recent Radio 4 series ‘Modern Monkey’ where you explore our modern social world, did you enjoy the research involved?
Yes. I wish it had been more scientific and I could’ve done more research, but I kept being reminded it was supposed to be a comedy show and I had to write jokes about things. We recorded the show at several museums and I was so interested to visit and learn – especially the Foundling Museum – something I knew nothing about. Such a tragic thing, mothers giving away their children because they cannot afford to support them.
“Getting to be in the West End was so special”
Do you think the world of comedy has changed much since you started?
I think audiences are changing and that directly influences the acts. Comedy used to be a crueller place, and while there is still lots of that kind of stuff – and lots of people who love it – there is a lot more diversity now, and I hope that continues. Live comedy is flourishing within an economic downturn and that is because the people making jokes are from a much wider spectrum. Their experiences are fresh and exciting and audiences want that. It’s not the individual cis, white, able-bodied man’s fault that historically, comedy clubs were so reliant on stereotype and tropes, but only one type of person’s reality was being reflected and I’m glad that’s improving.
Do you have a career highlight? Is there a moment you stopped and thought, wow, this is just incredible?
Getting to write books is a massive privilege. Whenever I do a book signing, that for me is a “pinch myself” moment. Also selling out a West End run – those theatres are an absolute joy to play and it felt like a victory lap. I felt so much love for every person in the audience and wanted to kiss and hug everyone. I am a failed actor, didn’t get into drama school all of that malarkey. So getting to be in the West End was so special to me, a validation.
What’s next for you following the tour?
I’d like to go do some stand up in America, and hopefully do some writing for TV. And another play. And I want to get a dog. And then more adventures so I can write another show